Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Ward Six Way

You have seen, have you not, the hideousness that is AOL's leaked business plan?  If the idea of clicking that link gives you a headache, that probably means that you already know what it says.  The plan is essentially a blueprint for creating as much video-heavy, search-engine-optimized crap journalism as is humanly possible, as quickly as possible.  If there is an opposite to literature, "The AOL Way" is it.

I did, however, enjoy Horace Dediu's response today on Asymco, his very well-written tech-industry blog.  (Yes, I read such things, so sue me.)  And I think "The Asymco Way" is germane not only to this blog, but to anyone who creates content on the internet.  In short, Dediu says:

- Learn by writing. Teach by listening.
- Improve. Move the intellectual ball forward.
- Illuminate topics which are bereft of analysis.
- Be notable. [...] How likely is the idea to being widely re-published?
- Review. Encourage participation by reading all comments and reply to as many as possible.
- Repair. Declare and correct errors.
- Select. Publish only when the contribution is unique. Avoid redundancy, clutter and noise.
Yes to every one of those.  And, if I were going to create a "Ward Six Way" I might add the following: Respect one's fellow writers not only with praise, but with constructive criticism, when warranted.  Avoid cynicism.  Substitute rigor for snark.  Have a sense of humor.  Educate yourself well on a topic before commenting on it.

And Dediu's closing remark could be seen as a golden rule for anyone seeking a career in writing or publishing.  He writes: "What about the business model? I’m afraid there isn’t one. I’m still naive enough to think that if I build a great product then everything else will take care of itself."

Here's hoping we all stay naive, indefinitely.

No comments: